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Q. I’m planning several getaways this summer and am on the hunt for a new weekend bag, can you recommend some?

A. We recently came across the amazing Weekender Bag from Kate Spade Saturday that is by far the best of its kind. At a reasonably priced $170, you get a coated canvas bag that not only looks great, but has tons of features that make packing for the weekend a breeze. Inside you’ll find several pockets including a removable cell-phone compartment and drawstring pockets to hold all your accessories. Perhaps the feature we love best, however, is the separate zippered shoe compartment which easily holds a couple pairs of sandals. It also comes in a variety of colors and prints to suit your style. Check it out at — and while you’re there, check out some of the other chic/functional bags including a picnic tote that folds out into a blanket and a cooler tote.

(P.S. If you’re feeling really creative, there’s even an option to customize your own small weekender with several colorblocked combinations and a monogram.)


It's time to pack your suitcase and head to the shore. These warm-weather goods will carry you through the season in style.

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Q. I’m headed to London for the Christmas week and will be doing tons of walking. Since I recently hurt my knee, comfortable shoes are really important, but I don’t want to look like a fashion victim in big clunky sneakers. Also I typically wear skinny jeans/pants so they look a bit weird paired with a sneaker, but it will be too cold to wear a maryjane type walking shoe. I’ve been desperately looking for comfy boots that I can sightsee in all day, bonus if they’re weather-proof for rainy London! I have extremely narrow calves so on top of that, so I have a problem finding tall boots that fit. Thank you!!

A. For walking around London with your skinny jeans, I would recommend investing in a chic pair of rubber soled ankle or mid-calf boots to avoid having to worry about fitting a tall boot to your narrow calves. Though comfort is a priority, that’s no reason to sacrifice style. As a personal favorite, I have walked for hours in my Frye Engineer boots, just add a comfy thick sock — and they look great with skinny jeans. And when it comes to comfort and warmth, you can’t beat an Ugg boot, though whether you think they’re stylish is up to you. Finally, I love the look of a rugged fur lined boot like the Sorels below with skinny jeans, even if your winter coat is a bit on the dressier side, it’s a great contrast (and very London!). Plus, I can personally attest to how amazingly comfortable they are.

Below are some options for you to try out for your trip. I purposely selected only boots from Zappos because of its free shipping and return policy. This will allow you to order several pairs of boots at once and wear them around the house as much as possible to select the one that will be most comfortable for a week’s worth of walking. Bonus, they’ll all serve you well for the damp British weather.


Q. I’m going to be traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks, mostly for long weekends. I’m really hoping to avoid the hassle of checking a bag, do you have any tips for fitting everything into a carry on?

A. You’re smart for wanting to avoid baggage claim and breeze through the airports as quickly as possible. Here are some packing tips to keep in mind to help you travel light:


1. Invest in a lightweight carry on bag. The ones with wheels may not be the cutest around, but they definitely win for ease of travel. Be sure to choose an airplane regulated size that fits in overhead compartments.

2. Bring a tote bag. Since you are allowed two carry ons, your second should be a stylish tote bag that doubles as a handbag during your trip. Pack only small clutches for the evening, recommends Mary Alice Stephenson, fashion expert and style ambassador.

3. Wear your heaviest items. A chunky versatile sweater, your favorite jeans, boots, and your coat take up too much room in the suitcase, so wear them on the plane instead.

4. Focus on tops and dresses. You can get away with just one or two pairs of pants during your trip, instead, pack a few interesting tops or dresses that take up little room in your suitcase.

5. Limit the extras. Stephenson suggests choosing a few pieces of neutral jewelry, like one chunky necklace or chandelier earrings, that can dress up all of your outfits.

6. Shrink your beauty routine. A versatile makeup palette and travel size bottles of your essential products should be all you need.

Q. Last week you gave some packing suggestions for a weekend in the city, but I have a few beach weekends planned for the summer. Can you give me some ideas on what to pack for a weekend at the shore?

A. Of course! There’s nothing I love more than spending a long relaxing weekend at the beach. My packing tips are pretty simple: I pack a few day-to-night dresses and tunics that go straight from beach to town to a sunset clambake. Add a couple of swimsuits, beach-to-street sandals, a hat, sunglasses, tote bag, sunscreen, and a lightweight scarf or jacket in case the nights are cool, and you’re ready to go! Here’s what’s typically in my weekend bag (click on each item for purchasing info):

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